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Copyright 2009 Starry Mirror



Astronomy From West Virginia


BRIDGEPORT, WV (S-M) - We here at the Starry Mirror have found that astronomy has brought many an interesting tale our way. Recently, I had occasion to receive a pair of "Wide Bino" opera glasses, surely the best opera glasses ever made, from Mr. Kasai of the Kasai Trading Company of Japan. The journey of the little binoculars from Japan to us here in West Virginia took an unexpected turn at the local post office.


Mr. Kasai had sent the EMS tracking number for the package, and though I reminded myself not to behave like a child at Christmas and check the tracking number constantly, I tracked the little parcel's progess across the ocean to Kennedy International Airport and then on to our own 26330 post office.


It was there that things hit a snag. The package arrived at the local post office on a Saturday, just three days after departure from Japan. Like all good astronomers, I am hardly ever awake during the daylight hours. So, on Monday, I was not too disappointed when I was not awakened by the postman. By Friday, though, I was a bit worried, not to mention well rested, and so I went to the post office to track down the package.


After the clerk was presented with the tracking number, things took a worrisome turn when it was clear nobody had any idea of where the package was. They looked on the loading dock, they looked around the counter and in the Grumman trucks. After they searched most everywhere, the boss was called and he decided to check the safe. Sure enough, there was my package.


It seems that when the package arrived at the local post office, someone looked at the customs declaration and noticed the value - "16,000." Of course, Mr. Kasai was meaning Yen, but a local postal worker thought it meant dollars, and he locked this most valuable package in the safe! I wonder if the package would still be stored safely away if I hadn't come looking for it.


Anyhow, the Wide Binos are one of the neatest little instruments I have ever seen. From our light polluted sky, they bring out all the stars you would expect to see from the darkest country site, with so little magnification (2.3x) that one hardly notices it at all. Although they can't save the glow of the Milky Way from light pollution, they do reveal a myriad of faint stars through Cassiopeia and Cygnus, and I hear that from the country they can reveal the North American Nebula. Adapters are available to thread nebular filters on the objectives, if one can afford it.  The little binoculars are very well made, mostly metal, and the optics are excellent.  Everybody ought to have a pair.  - GW

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The Wide Binos are so tiny, it can be hard to hold onto them.  A strap is needed to catch them when they are dropped.

A nice leather case was included with the opera glasses.  It's only about four inches long.